Not much changed from Week 1 to week 2 except for our win-loss record. A slow week but that didnt stop the Lakers from completely annihilating their competition:
Clippers at Lakers
Bent on not to repeat the slaughter that was opening night for the Clippers, they actually hung with the Lakers strive for strive until the Lakers finally decided to show up. A close game going into the last 6 minutes of the game ended up being a double digit victory for the home team. The Lakers shot terribly throughout the game but a 22-0 run similar to the 17-0 run in the first meeting sealead which was eventually an 18 point victory for the Lakers. Kobe led the scoring with 27, Andy Bynum held down the interior grabbing 17 boards and 4 blocks. Lamar Odom had his best showing of the early season with 15 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. The Clippers really didnt help themselves as their key players were in foul trouble throughout the game. Marcus Camby added 4 blocks of his own and Al Thornton led the Clippers with 22 points. Mike Dunleavy was so impressed that he stated the Lakers should run the table in the West this season...fun fact for you, Mike Dunleavy was once the head coach of the Lakers, thanks Mike check is in the mail!
Rockets at Lakers
After the Lakers disposal of inferior teams, they would face their first real test of the young season with the Houston Rockets in town. Ron Ron and company got off to a great start leading by 12 points at the end of the first and built a lead up to as much as 16. The Lakers finally shook the rust off (not having played a game in 3 days) and went to work on the Rockets tying the game in late in the 2nd quarter and eventually taking a small lead into halftime. A couple of Carl Landry elbows to Pau Gasol's jaw awoke the Spaniard as he was instrumental in the comeback. And as usual, The Bench Mob was out causing havoc again. The Lakers started to seperate themselves in the 3rd quarter building up a 7 point lead and in the 4th as it has now become a trend with the Lakers, applied more pressure to the Rockets neck and choked the life out of them outscoring them by 22 points and closing the book on another lopsided victory. The Lakers posted 10 blooks and held another opponent to less then 40% shooting. The Lakers defense was stimy again as Kobe and company shut down Tracy "Mr. Glass" McGrady to only 3 points on 1-11 shooting and Artest to 8 points on 2-11 shooting. Kobe led the way again with 23 points, Gasol had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Jordan "Paul Revere" (Minute Men, get it?) Farmar led The Bench Mob with 16 points and 6 assists. Were'nt the Rockets supposed to be the team that was going to dethrone us..I know, I know may a little to early...Houston, you have a problem!
We havent heard from our fear-less leader in a while but that doesnt mean the old playboy isnt paying attention. Dr. Jerry Buss much like most of us are at peace now after a tumultous off-season prior to the 07-08 season with Kobe venting and trade rumors. Well what a difference a year makes! The king of the castle touched on a number of issues. First priority for Dr. Buss is to retain both Kobe and Phil. Dr. Buss touched on Europe courting Kobe and stated "They have fewer games, smaller arenas and cheaper tickets and very little television," Buss said. "I can't see it, but there are people who are wealthy enough in the world that could make astronomical offers, and I certainly couldn't compete with that. But quite honestly, I just don't think that's a real threat." Lets hope not!
As for the being over the cap and luxury taxes, Dr. Buss is also prepared to do whatever it takes to keep a championship caliber team in tact: "We have to do what we have to do," he said. "I certainly don't like to pay the luxury tax, but if that's what it takes to win, then we're going to pay it."
We have all had discussions about the Lakers possibly beating the Bulls all-time single season record of 72-10, how does Dr. Buss feel about it..."I think the West has improved so much that something like that would be very difficult," Buss said. "I thought that we could come close to 60 wins." A short pause followed with "I'd be happy with 73, though." Once a winner always a winner
Interesting to note Dr. Buss main motiviation for buying the Lakers back in 1979, was it to own a storied franchise, to collect the millions in revenue they Lakers produce, to get all of Hugh Hefners women??? Well heres your answer:
"One of the biggest reasons I bought the Lakers was to beat the Celtics, If you were a Laker fan prior to my ownership, and you sat there and watched the Celtics whip us so many times, and how close we came -- one shot in one particular series -- you just got it into your soul that you couldn't stand the Celtics anymore."
Spoken like a true Laker!
Lets Get Physical, Physical!
Have you noticed when teams try to get physical with the Lakers, it almost always back-fires on them. Last night both Ron Artest and Carl Landry tried to rough up Kobe and Gasol, only motivating them more. Its amazing that people out there have this soft tag on the Lakers which I still dont understand. Last year, the first time all season I heard the soft label was during the Finals against Boston. Being a "soft team" is different from being an "under-manned team" which is what the Lakers were in the Finals last year, you cant be a soft team and win the toughest Western Conference race ever.
Well I certainly hope more teams will strategize with this misconception in mind. That will set them up for a rude awakening. The more physical teams get the more motivated the Lakers look, plus that only spells foul trouble for the opposition. Sometimes I think the best thng that could have happened to the Lakers was that thrashing Boston gave us in Game 6, you can only talk smack and bully for so long until the other guy decides to do something about it. Heres to the other guy!
No rolling of the McDyess
Antonion McDyess who was recently traded to the Nuggets may be available for the Lakers once the Nuggets buy out his contract but the Lakers aren't really interested. Phil's take: "He's a good guy," Jackson said. "He's a good player and he's experienced. But right now in our situation, other than just watching what's happening, there's no interest that I can call right now."
After Joey Crawford was cut earlier this season, the Los Angeles Defenders of the NBADL drafted the kid to play for them. The Lakers are also planning to allocate Sun Yue who has been inactive for the first few games to the D-League also. It worked out great for Jordan Farmar!
Week 3 Preview
This upcoming week will be a whole lot different from last week. The week kicks off with a back to back on the road with the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. The week ends with the new look Detroit Pistons and Allen Iverson in town. Some tough oppenents this week, then again wasn't Houston supposed to be tough?